All things considered, Americans’ penchant for gas-powered vehicles is bordering on irrational. Just glance at the biggest suppliers of U.S. petroleum and you encounter a Who’s Who of countries you don’t want to deal with in a tough spot. Sure, Canada (first) is the nice guy next door, but Saudi Arabia (second), Venezuela (fourth), and Russia (fifth) represent the biggest foreign policy headaches conceivable for the U.S. State Department.
Ad campaigns by oil companies and automakers may sound great, but the bottom line is transportation consumes more oil than any other sector in the United States combined, and the effects on the planet have become devastating. Consumers don’t have to feel helpless in light of these facts. There are more options in efficient automobiles than ever before with affordable electric vehicles and hybrid cars getting a fair shake. To get the electricity they need efficiently, the natural gas boom is providing a power source to charge car batteries with much lower emissions than coal-fired plants. If you want to, there are ways to stop using so much gasoline.
Of course, the most winning argument for going green is for saving money while saving resources. Climate change doubters — basically, one in two members of the Republican party — continue to exist despite the evidence to the contrary. Hopefully for everyone, they’ll agree it’s better to spend less money and allow the collateral benefits to arrive along with their savings. With that goal in mind, here are the eight best cars in terms of fuel economy for 2014, separated by vehicle class and ranked by the EPA in combined mpg or the electric vehicle equivalent (MPGe).
Note: Along with each car is the estimated amount of money you can save over a period of five years driving the vehicle, along with its MSRP before destination charge but after federal EV rebate (when it applies). Also included is the amount of money you can save on fuel costs compared to the average 2014 vehicle in its class.